Pope Francis with “everyone, everyone, everyone”

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The last days of Pope Francis in Portugal were very intense. The moments of music and prayer continued to be some of the highlights of this WYD Lisbon 2023.

On 5 August, at 8 am, Pope Francis left for Fatima, where he prayed the rosary with some young patients. Upon arriving at the Shrine, he blessed several children while greeting those who were there.

As happened at the meeting at Serafina, in Lisbon, the Holy Father dropped the script in the middle of his speech and addressed the pilgrims again in an impromptu way – “Mary ran out when she heard that her cousin was pregnant”. It’s a bit of a loose translation. We say that Mary ran out to help. The Virgin who runs out. She has a problem and she runs. Do you like this? Let’s all say it together. Our Lady hurries because she is a mother. Our Lady hurries”.

“The little chapel where we meet is a beautiful image of the Church: welcoming and without doors. We can insist that everyone can enter, it is the Mother’s house, and a mother always has her heart open to everyone, everyone, everyone, without exception”, he continued, taking up the written speech again.
On his return to Lisbon, he met with members of the Society of Jesus at the College of St John of Brito.
In an afternoon marked by intense heat, the Pope met with more than one and a half million pilgrims in Campo da Graça, to participate in the Vigil.

“Dear brothers and sisters, good evening. It gives me joy to see you. Thank you for travelling, for walking. Thank you for being here”, Pope Francis began. “And I think that the Virgin Mary also had to travel to see Elizabeth. She left and went without delay. We wonder why Mary left in haste to see her cousin. Of course, she has just learnt that her cousin is pregnant, but so is she. So why is she going if no-one asked her to. Mary makes an unsolicited, non-mandatory gesture. Mary goes because she loves. And the one who loves flies, runs and rejoices. That is what love does to us”, the Holy Father emphasised.

The following morning, the Pope was again present in Campo da Graça, meeting the pilgrims who had stayed overnight to wait for him. This time, the Sending Mass was celebrated.

In this ceremony, inaugurated by the Cardinal-Patriarch of Lisbon, Manuel Clemente, Francis took the opportunity of his homily to challenge the young people once again to encourage themselves and not to be afraid – “you young people who cultivate great dreams, sometimes overshadowed by the fear of not seeing them realised, think that you will not be able to do it. At this time you are tempted by discouragement, by seeing yourselves as inadequate. You who want to change the world and fight for justice and peace, you young people who invest the best of your effort and dedication, but it seems that it is not enough, you whom the Church needs like the rain. You who are the present and the future, I tell you not to be afraid”, the Pope concluded.

At the end of the Sending Mass, Pope Francis invited young people to participate in the Youth Jubilee in 2025, which will take place in Rome, as well as in the next WYD, which will be held in South Korea, in Seoul, in 2027.

Even before returning to Rome, Francis met with the more than 25,000 volunteers of WYD Lisbon 2023 in Algés.

In a metaphor, and referring to the waves of Nazaré, he asked the young people to continue spreading love and being charitable – “I want to tell you to continue like this, continue on the waves of love, on the waves of charity, be surfers of love. This is a task that I ask of you. May the service you have done for this WYD be the first of many waves of good, and may you reach higher and higher, closer to God, and this will give you a better perspective for your journey. Thank you all and have a good journey”, said the Holy Father.

It was with this meeting with the volunteers that the Holy Father’s visit to Portugal came to an end. It lasted five days and was the longest of any Pope to the country hosting WYD.

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